The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has gained more partners in its push for the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights online as eight more companies signed the e-commerce memorandum of understanding (MOU).

In a statement over the weekend, IPOPHL said the new members of the MOU - which aims to lay down a code of practice and strengthen coordination among e-commerce platforms and brand owners in protecting IP rights online - are Pearson Education South Asia Pte, BrandShield, Puma, Treasury Wine Estates, Honeywell, Josefina Manufacturing Inc., Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) and Sanofi.

It added that the recent signing of the new members was supported by the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the United Kingdom IP Office, noting that it took place on the sidelines of INTA's 2023 Annual Meeting in Singapore earlier this month.

'We continue to add more members to the e-commerce MOU amid a growing sentiment to curb counterfeit goods and piracy-promoting posts over the internet. We hope we contribute to building a safe e-commerce environment for consumers and brand owners alike,' IPOPHL director general Rowel Barba said.

With the new signatories, IPOPHL said the MOU now has a total of 27 members.

The MOU provides an avenue where members can closely collaborate and notify platform members on possible IP violations, allowing a more efficient take down of online posts selling counterfeit products or pirated content, IPOPHL said.

It said the recent inclusion of two signatories from the pharmaceutical industry, Sanofi and SG-based PSI, would also boost the Philippines' efforts to prevent the proliferation and sale of counterfeit medicine online.

'With their support, IPOPHL also aims to clear out the United States Trade Representative's finding in its 2023 Special 301 Report that the Philippines is among the top sources of counterfeit medicines globally,' the agency said.

It noted that the MOU enhances IPOPHL's existing partnership with the PSI, from capacity-building, raising awareness and exchanging critical information for investigation, seizure and prosecution purposes to addressing challenges in delivering safe medicines and ensuring integrity in the distribution of pharmaceuticals online.

'Today's expansion of the MOU showcases the incredible importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in addressing the spread of counterfeiting and piracy, especially in online marketplaces where almost everyone is today. This whole-of-society approach will gain us not only the overall health and safety of our consumers but also a stronger IP system that will promote innovation and competitiveness,' Barba said.

The MOU has led to heightened removals of IP infringing posts on Lazada and Shopee, which are both signatories to the effort. It has also been cited as a best practice in the ASEAN region in cultivating trust online to deter illicit alcohol trade.

IPOPHL said a second annual review of the MOU is slated this month to assess the result and further fine-tune areas of improvement in its framework and implementation.

The MOU was signed on March 1, 2021. IPOPHL collaborated with the British Embassy under the UK Prosperity Fund ASEAN Economic Reform Program in the creation of the MOU.


Copyright © 2022 PhilSTAR Daily, Inc Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (